8 Useful FFmpeg Commands For Beginners

Posted By : Anirudh Bhardwaj | 03-Jan-2017

FFmpeg Commands

FFmpeg is a world famous command line tool which provides cross-platform, runtime environment for streaming, recording and converting audio/video data into different media formats. Besides, it gives you valuable means for performing numerous multimedia tasks such as audio/video compression/decompression, encoding/decoding, muxing and demuxing. FFmpeg comes with a built-in support for a wide range of audio/video codecs thereby supporting a large number of media formats as well. Being open-source, anyone can leverage the benefits of this software tool. Last but not the least, it is very easy to learn and anyone can try their hands on this tool. So in case you’re a beginner, this blog might be helpful for you to get started with FFmpeg. In this blog, I have compiled 8 FFmpeg commands that you must know as a beginner. So let’s get started!


#1 Getting Information Pertaining To The Video File

Before performing any action, you must know how to obtain the relevant information about the video file. You can do that with the following command.


$  ffmpeg -i  video.avi


Where the video file is named, “video” and it is in .avi video format.


#2 Video Conversions

Suppose you want to convert an mp4 video file to a different format, say avi. You can do that with FFmpeg using this command.


$ ffmpeg -i video1.avi -s 320x240 -vcodec msmpeg4v2 video2.avi


Here, you must specify the file name on which the action is to be performed. However, you can give a different name to the output file. For instance, in this example, “video1” is the original avi file name while video 2 is the output file name which is to be converted into divx avi format.


#3 Split A Video File Into Multiple Images

FFmpeg lets you convert a video file into a series of images that you’d find in the parent folder. To perform this action, you need to give the following command.


$  ffmpeg -i  video.avi  image%d.png  


Here, “video” is the video file name in avi format which is to be converted into images in png format. The converted images will be named image1.png, image2.png, image3.png and so on.


#4 Compile & Convert Multiple Images Into A Video

After knowing how to convert a video into images, it’s time you should know how to perform the reverse action.  


$  ffmpeg -f  image2 -i  image%d.jpg  video.avi


Giving this command will convert all the images from the current directory to an avi video file titled, “video.”


#5 Video To Audio Conversions

With FFmpeg, you can also convert a video file into audio with mp3 or wav formats. This example will show you how to convert an .avi video file into mp3 format.


$  ffmpeg -i  video.avi  -vn  -ar  44100  -ac  2  -ab  192  -f  mp3 audio.mp3  


This command will convert the avi video file, “video” from the directory to the mp3 format and the output file name will be “audio.mp3.”


#6 Video To GIF Conversions

FFmpeg also lets you convert short video clips into animated GIF images. Following is the linux command which lets you do just that.


$  ffmpeg -i  video.avi  gifimage.gif


The above command will convert a video titled, “video” from the directory to an animated GIF file titled, “gifimage.”


#7 Video-to-Video Conversions

FFmpeg allows you to convert a video file from one format to another video format. Suppose you have a video file in directory with .flv format and you want to change that to .mpg format, then the following command will help you do that.


$  ffmpeg -i  video.flv  video.mpg


This command will convert a video file named ‘Video’ with .flv format into an .mpg video file of the same name. In the same way, you can perform other video conversions.


#8 Muxing Audio/Video Files

FFmpeg also gives you the facility to multiplex/demultiplex audio and video files. The following command will merge two audio and video files into one.


$  ffmpeg -i audio.mp3 -i video.avi video_audio_mix.mpg


The above command will multiplex an mp3 audio file titled, “audio” with an avi video file titled, “video.” The resultant muxed file will be in .mpg format.


About Author

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Anirudh Bhardwaj

Anirudh is a Content Strategist and Marketing Specialist who possess strong analytical skills and problem solving capabilities to tackle complex project tasks. Having considerable experience in the technology industry, he produces and proofreads insightful content on next-gen technologies like AI, blockchain, ERP, big data, IoT, and immersive AR/VR technologies. In addition to formulating content strategies for successful project execution, he has got ample experience in handling WordPress/PHP-based projects (delivering from scratch with UI/UX design, content, SEO, and quality assurance). Anirudh is proficient at using popular website tools like GTmetrix, Pagespeed Insights, ahrefs, GA3/GA4, Google Search Console, ChatGPT, Jira, Trello, Postman (API testing), and many more. Talking about the professional experience, he has worked on a range of projects including Wethio Blockchain, BlocEdu, NowCast, IT Savanna, Canine Concepts UK, and more.

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